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Iraq to Honor OPEC Decisions as Monthly Exports Rise

Iraq will remain committed to OPEC’s decisions on oil output as it nudges crude exports higher in December.

Several companies are bidding to buy Iraqi oil in the country’s first pre-payment deal for long-term supply, Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said Sunday in Baghdad. Exxon Mobil Corp. won’t sell its stake in the huge West Qurna-1 field, he told reporters.

Iraq will export 2.8 million barrels a day in December, Jabbar said, up from 2.7 million last month. It will start shipping three new grades of Basra crude in January and focus in the future on pumping as much light oil as it can, he said.

Jabbar’s comments were his first public remarks on oil since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies such as Russia agreed to boost output by 500,000 barrels a day in January. Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, is struggling to pay its bills with crude prices at current levels.

The government expects crude to exceed $50 per barrel next year and is basing its 2021 budget on an assumed price of $42, Jabbar said. Brent crude ended trading last week at $49.25 per barrel, down 25% for this year.